Archive: Marvin

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Marvin, 6/13/17

Usually when we discuss Marvin here, it’s to talk about the main theme of the strip, which is that the title character is a baby who not only poops and pees in his pants, as all babies do, but revels in it, enjoying the way his foul stench disgusts his parents. There’s another theme, though, and that’s how Marvin’s parents need to care not only for their grotesque infant, but also Jenny’s parents, who lost all their retirement savings in bad investments and moved in with Marvin’s family in defeat. Then last year we learned that Jeff’s dad, who he thought had died when he was a child, actually just walked out on the family and Jeff’s mom told her son he was dead, because it was easier! And now he’s decided to come back into his son’s life, entirely for grifting purposes. What I’m saying is that beneath the surface of this light-hearted strip about endless shit-filled diapers, there’s an aspiring Funky Winkerbean trying to get out.

Funky Winkerbean, 6/13/17

Speaking of Funky Winkerbean, don’t think this is the kind of hilarious accidental eavesdropping oh-no-my-beloved-is-cheating-on-me misunderstanding-half-a-conversation you’d see in mindless sitcoms like Three’s Company. No, this is the kind of tragic accidental eavesdropping oh-no-my-beloved-is-cheating-on-me misunderstanding-half-a-conversation you’d see in Shakespeare, which usually end in a murder-suicide.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 6/13/17

Look, I know coming out to an acquaintance can be difficult. But see, you don’t have to invite them to a high school musical your girlfriend stars in just so you can casually mention that your girlfriend will be appearing in it! You could have said she was the lead when you first invited them to see the show, for instance. That would’ve gotten it out of the way early and then they wouldn’t even have had to come! Or when you first got wind that there was some romantic jealousy, you could’ve just said “I have a girlfriend and you’re gross!” Lotta options that don’t involve several uncomfortable hours watching high school musical theater that somebody else’s girlfriend is starring in, is what I’m saying.

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Spider-Man, 6/3/17

OH MY GOD, NEWSPAPER SPIDER-MAN, WHICH I ALREADY DECLARED MY FAVORITE SUPERHERO COMIC OF ALL TIME, HAS JUST NAME-CHECKED AN OBSCURE FIGURE FROM LATE ANTIQUITY, THE HISTORICAL PERIOD THAT I STUDIED DURING MY ABORTIVE ACADEMIC CAREER! Was today’s strip written specifically for me? Probably! Anyway, let’s go through a quick rundown of all the interesting details and historical inaccuracies they’ve managed to pack into just a few sentences:

  • The historical figure in question was actually named Romulus, which (IRONY ALERT) was also the name of the legendary founder and first ruler of Rome. The -ulus ending was a diminutive in Latin, so Romulus means “Little Rome.” Augustus was one of the Roman titles for emperor, and during his reign Romulus was known as Romulus Augustus; Augustulus, meaning “little emperor,” was a nickname given to him by later historian.

  • Romulus was, if not little, at least young: he was emperor for only a year, and he was 16 at the time. His father Orestes, who was a Roman general, was the real power behind the throne.

  • Tyrannus is the origin of our word tyrant, but in Latin in the 5th century A.D. it didn’t necessarily mean “a cruel ruler,” as it’s come to mean in English; instead, it meant someone who had usurped a throne from a legitimate ruler, without much by way of value judgement beyond that. This is actually an appropriate name for Romulus, then, because he became Emperor when his father overthrew Julius Nepos, the legitimate Romen ruler.

  • Romulus’s claim to be “the last Roman emperor” is actually pretty tenuous. In the 5th century A.D. there were usually two Roman emperors, one ruling from Italy and the other from Constantinople; over the course of the century, the western half of the empire fell apart due to external invasion and internal fragmentation, while the eastern pulled through in one piece; by the 470s, the Western Roman government only controlled Italy and the western Balkans. When Orestes put Romulus on the throne, Julius Nepos fled to Dalmatia, where he was from, and continued to rule there. Then, a year later, Odoacer, the German general who was in charge of most of the Western Roman army, killed Orestes, deposed Romulus, and placed himself under the authority of the distant Eastern Emperor, although in practice he ruled Italy as his own kingdom. Julius Nepos, the legitimate Western Emperor, ruled Dalmatia until he was killed in 480, and the emperors in Constantinople kept doing their thing (and called themselves “Roman Emperors,” although the empire was eventually almost entirely Greek) all the way until 1453.

  • Because Romulus was only a teenager, Odoacer spared his life, sent him to live with his family in southern Italy, and even gave him a pension. He pretty much vanishes from history at that point, though there’s a preserved letter from a Roman administrator that might indicate that he was still receiving his pension more than 30 years later. So is it possible that he became eternally undead due to forbidden sorcery and now seeks to claim an underground empire to compensate for the realm that was stolen from him when he was a boy? Sure, why not!

Marvin, 6/3/17

Marvin may be an awful-hell infant who’s willing to stew in his own shit-filled diapers forever just to annoy his parents, but even he understands the basic concepts of consent.

Pluggers, 6/3/17

No matter how deep pluggers get into hoarding, they can never fill the hole in their lives left by the family that abandoned them.

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Mary Worth, 5/22/17

Oh, did you think that Entertainer Esmé’s sinister plan to win Derek’s love by locking his wife Katie in a Haitian bathroom failed just because Derek quickly found and rescued her? Well, you’ve got another thing coming! Look at the sinister, knowing way she’s gazing down at the grateful but rattled Hoosiers. Obviously she never expected Katie to stay in that bathroom for long. Obviously that was just the first move in a very long game of sexual chess that ends with Derek as her lover. I remain extremely here for this storyline, is what I’m saying.

Marvin, 5/22/17

I don’t really keep up with the “game show scene” so I had to actually Google to see if Can You Top This? were a real game show. It’s not, unless you want to count an “unrehearsed” “radio panel game” from the 1940’s “in which comedians told jokes and tried to top one another”, which, around here we call that a podcast, not a game show. Anyway, it took me a minute to realize that, unlike poor Bubba Watson, Drew Carey isn’t quite being referred to by name here, which makes sense because you’d think drawing a public figure presiding over a game show where dead-eyed contestants describe getting hit in the face with streams of urine would open you up to lawsuits.

Blondie, 5/22/17

Ha ha, it’s funny because Mr. Dithers’s wife doesn’t want to spend time with him!

Pluggers, 5/22/17

Pluggers’ day-to-day lives involve coming up with coping strategies as their accumulated filth piles up around them. It’s really quite sad!